Students from the Academy of the Pacific Rim in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, home to Thespian Troupe 6647, have been selected to attend the International Thespian Festival (ITF), thanks to the Educational Theatre Association’s Send a Troupe to Festival grant. This prestigious grant will cover the troupe’s travel and registration expenses. The students of Troupe 6647 will represent the community’s growing theatre program along with more than 4,000 students from around the country and the world.
The International Thespian Festival is a celebration of student achievement in the performing arts, produced by the Educational Theatre Association. The 56th event, which this year takes place June 24-29 at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, brings together more than 4,000 high school drama students and their teachers for a weeklong immersion in workshops; interaction with colleges, industry leaders, and Broadway professionals; and opportunities to be inspired by the best high school theatre in the nation.
A Thespian troupe is a group of students who have earned induction into the International Thespian Society (ITS), the honor society for high school drama students, which was established in 1929 and has 2.3 million members. The Academy of the Pacific Rim Thespian troupe functions not only as a theatre program, but a leadership program as a whole.
The Academy of the Pacific Rim’s theatre program has grown during the past 17 years. Under the direction of Meegan Gliner, approximately 20 percent of the school’s student population has joined and participated in the Thespian Troupe program. Working with a limited theatre budget, the program stages performances in the school cafeteria to showcase the students’ talents and provide entertainment for the community. The program has used fundraising and hard work to provide students from grades five through 12 with a place to grow.
“Our Thespians are passionate about our program and motivated to move mountains,” said Gliner. “They don’t let obstacles get in their way, but instead they simply see it as a challenge to overcome. This is their dream, and they will not let anything stand between them and achieving this dream.”
The Send a Troupe to International Thespian Festival Grant was created with donations from many generous supporters of the Educational Theatre Association. Up to two current Thespian troupes receive a one-time grant of up to $10,000 to help cover the basic International Thespian Festival registration fees for a teacher, inducted Thespians, and appropriate number of chaperones, plus travel fees to and from Lincoln, Nebraska.